Ciao from Noci in the Puglia region of Italy!

Get ready for a giant, image heavy post about our time in Tuscany! There’s so much beautiful scenery, I absolutely failed to edit this down.

To start, and a big highlight of this part of our trip, was the Tuscan villa and farm where we stayed. This was outside Montefollonico with views of Montepulciano in the distance.

It was like a fairytale!

A rustic stone house surrounded by lush greenery and flowering plants, set against a backdrop of rolling hills and a clear blue sky.

A lush, green landscape featuring dense foliage in the foreground, with various plants and trees. The background reveals rolling hills under a clear blue sky with light clouds. A distant hilltop village or town is faintly visible.

A picturesque stone cottage covered in climbing roses and surrounded by a lush garden with wildflowers. The cottage features a rustic tiled roof and weathered blue-green window shutters. The backdrop consists of rolling hills and distant trees, under a clear blue sky.

I mean, they even had this rabbit that lives in the yard behind our room.

A fluffy, long-haired rabbit eating grass in a garden. In the background, a person in a colorful skirt and sandals stands on the lawn. Flowering plants and greenery surround the area.

Here’s the view of Montepulciano.

A scenic landscape featuring rolling green hills, yellow flowering bushes, and a distant hilltop town under a partly cloudy sky. Trees and shrubs dot the foreground, and a wooden fence lines part of the scene.

On our first full day, we set out to explore the countryside around Montepulciano by e-bike. This region is famous for its wine production and beautiful medieval and Renaissance era town.

The image features an old cylindrical stone building with small windows and visible brickwork repairs. It is situated beside a road with a cypress tree on the left and is framed by a clear blue sky. A set of stone steps leads to the entrance.

View of a narrow street in an old town, flanked by historic buildings with stone facades. In the center is a tall clock tower with a bell at the top. A few people are walking or sitting at an outdoor café with white umbrellas.

Admiring the view shortly after we set off on the e-bikes. At first, I was skeptical that we’d need a mountain bike. By the end, I realized why. Some of our route was on essentially farm roads that could be gravel and fairly rough. Even with an e-bike, the hills here are a challenge!

A person stands next to a mountain bike on a gravel path with a scenic view in the background. The individual is wearing a helmet and casual attire. A green car is parked near an orange fence on the left, and lush greenery extends across the landscape.

But the views were worth it!

View of a lush, green landscape with rolling hills and vineyards. The horizon shows distant mountains under a clear, blue sky.

A picturesque landscape featuring a historic town on a hilltop surrounded by lush green fields and vineyards. The town has a mix of medieval buildings, which blend seamlessly into the verdant landscape.

This is a very typical Tuscan scene with the cypress tree and gravel road.

A gravel road running through a rural landscape with greenery and rolling hills in the background. On the right side of the road, there is an old, rustic stone building with a tiled roof, and a tall, narrow cypress tree stands nearby.

The route the bike shop provided included some stops for wine tasting. I loved how informal it was here at Boscarelli. These vineyards really are small operations.

A rustic wooden table with various items, including wine bottles, glasses, papers, and a smartphone case. Shelves and boxes containing books, wine packaging, and other items surround the table. A desk lamp illuminates the area.

Of course, Montepulciano has a beautiful church.

Interior of a historic church with an ornate altar, stone statues, and religious frescoes on the arched ceiling. The altar is surrounded by intricate architectural details, a stained glass window, and a large chandelier. Benches and an organ are visible.

More views from Montepulciano.

A picturesque view from between two old brick buildings, showing rooftops, greenery, and a distant landscape with mountains under a clear sky. Some birds are flying in the mid-ground.

Next few days we did some driving itineraries to see more of the countryside and the small Tuscan towns.

First up was Trequanda.

A medieval stone tower with a cylindrical shape, featuring small windows, a conical roof, and an overhanging battlement. The tower is situated next to a winding road with trees and vegetation nearby. A partly cloudy sky is visible in the background.

Narrow, cobblestone street in a quaint town with stone buildings. Brightly colored flowers in window boxes on the left side and a wooden door framed by steps in the background. A yellow building with green shutters is on the right side.

A narrow cobblestone alleyway lined with rustic stone buildings featuring green shutters and flowering plants. The alleyway curves gently with an archway visible in the distance under a partly cloudy sky.

A person wearing a plaid shirt, denim shorts, and red sneakers is posing under a stone archway. They have a crossbody bag and are looking up with hands on their hips. The background features stone walls and potted plants.

Also great views from Trequanda. We are beginning to see the pattern that Tuscan towns are built on the hilltops, creating great views of the landscapes.

A scenic landscape featuring a lush, green valley with rows of olive trees and dense forest-covered hills. Scattered houses are visible, nestled among the trees, and mountains can be seen in the distance under a clear sky.

We visited another winery and agriturismo. This one, called Fattoria del Colle is run by women. Again, it’s a small operation.

This image shows the interior of a winery cellar with various barrels and tanks used for storing and aging wine. There are large wooden barrels, a ceramic fermentation tank, and stainless steel vats. The space features brick arches, rustic decorations, and industrial elements.

More great views.

Rolling countryside with green fields and wooded areas under a cloudy sky. Dirt paths weave through the landscape, and distant hills are visible on the horizon. A serene, natural setting.

We visited a small olive oil producer, met the owner and got the full tour. It was really fun to learn about the process, seeing the older machinery (big granite wheels) alongside the newer (centrifuges that reduce contact with air).

An olive oil mill facility with machinery including a granite millstone crusher, a metal conveyor, and various stainless steel processing units. The floor is tiled, and the room is well-lit with overhead fluorescent lights.

This small, family run operation puts out some great olive oil!

The image shows a display of various bottles of extra virgin olive oil on a small wooden table. The bottles are of different sizes and have different colored caps.

They make several D.O.P. oils and this cloth details the Siena D.O.P. region.

A detailed cloth map depicts the production area for D.O.P. Terre di Siena olive oil in the province of Siena, Tuscany. It highlights various localities involved in olive oil production.

Next up was Chiusure, which is adjacent to this valley of rugged, eroded landscape.

A panoramic view of a hilly landscape featuring rugged, white chalk formations and lush green vegetation. Rolling hills and dense forests stretch into the distance, with patches of farmland visible under a clear, light blue sky.

Just outside town was this monastery with this monk statue turned up to 11.

A tall brick church with a clock tower and arched windows under a sunny sky. In front of the church, a white marble statue depicts a robed figure standing on a stone pedestal. The area around the church and statue is paved with red bricks.

Lucignano was the next town we saw. I thought the streets here were very photogenic.

A person stands in the middle of a narrow, cobblestone alleyway flanked by tall, ancient stone buildings with green shutters. The perspective of the alleyway leads the eyes towards a bright, cloudy sky.

A narrow stone alley in a quaint village lined with rustic buildings adorned with red and blue flags. Two people walk down the steps towards an archway. Greenery and trees are visible in the background, adding to the scene’s charm.

A rustic stone courtyard with potted plants and vibrant flowers arranged against the walls. Decorative plates are mounted on the walls. Above, a bell tower with two bells is visible, and the weathering on the stone walls suggests the structure is historic.

A quaint, empty village square with stone buildings, a church with a bell tower, and a large cross monument in the center. The scene features cobblestone pavement, potted plants, trees, and benches, all under a cloudy sky.

A person stands at the blue, open wooden doors of a historical church with a striped stone facade. The church features a circular stained glass window and ornate carvings around the entryway. The courtyard has a stone pavement with patches of grass.

A stone and brick church facade with a large wooden door and a tall window above it. The church is accessed via a set of wide, stone stairs. Two potted plants flank the steps, and two additional potted plants are placed higher up.

A narrow, stone-paved street in a quaint village or historic town. The street is lined with aged, stone buildings adorned with green window shutters and flower pots. Lamps hang from the sides of buildings.

It’s so cool to see the town walls and entryways. Some (most?) date back to the Etruscan civilization. However, the walls have been reinforced and rebuilt over the centuries.

A historical stone archway with a medieval crest above it, situated in a rustic town. Black, white, and grey flags are draped over the wall.

Dinner in a castle? Why not?

A historic, weathered stone building with a tall, crenellated tower, arched doorways, and shuttered windows. The structure includes both medieval and Renaissance architectural elements with a large, grassy courtyard and a gravel path leading to the entrance.

The dining area had some unexpected modern touches. Food was great.

A cozy dining area with rustic wooden beams and shelves filled with wine bottles. The tables are set with glasses, cutlery, and candles. A neon sign reading “bottega” is illuminated in pink on the back wall, adding a modern touch.

Next was Monticchiello, which also had great views.

A scenic view of rolling hills in the countryside, featuring patches of green fields, clusters of trees, and winding roads. In the distance, there is a hilltop town under a partly cloudy sky.

A scenic landscape featuring rolling hills with various shades of green and yellow fields, dotted with trees and shrubbery. The foreground shows olive trees and other vegetation, while the background includes an expansive view of farmland and distant hills under a partly cloudy sky.

A person stands in a narrow alleyway lined with stone walls and metal fences, looking upwards and smiling. They are wearing a denim dress over a red shirt and sandals. The alley is surrounded by greenery and trees, and a partly cloudy sky is visible.

And the town itself was very picturesque.

A person stands on the steps of a large, historical stone building with a grand wooden door. The facade of the building features intricate architectural details including a circular rose window and arched doorway. The sky above is partly cloudy.

A narrow cobblestone alleyway in an old town, lined with rustic stone buildings. Flower pots with colorful blooms decorate the path. Greenery, including potted plants and a tree, adds to the charm. An overcast sky is visible above.

A rustic stone building with wooden window shutters, featuring vibrant flowers hanging from a balcony. The sky is overcast.

This small town had quite the history full of combat and attempts to breach the town walls. We learned about the documentary called Spettacolo that’s about the theatrical event put on in the town square every year. We definitely will have to give this a watch!

A historic stone archway leads into a cobblestone street lined with old buildings. The cloudy sky adds to the rustic atmosphere.

Here’s what looks like a regular cup of espresso, but it has a bit of grappa added to it. It tasted great. In Italian it’s usually called caffè corretto which translates as “corrected coffee”.

A Lavazza-branded white espresso cup and saucer filled with espresso, placed on a table. A metal spoon rests on the saucer. In the background, there are green plants and a wooden table number stand with the number 14.

The next town we visited was Pienza, which is famous for being a Renaissance era planned city in the style of Humanism. It was the home of Pope Pius II who oversaw the construction and eventually returned to live here.

A scenic view featuring a stone wall leading to a large historic building with Gothic-style windows. Tall cypress trees stand beyond the wall, under a blue sky with scattered clouds. The background includes a distant hilly landscape.

A view of the piazza.

A historic clock tower made of red brick, featuring a white clock face, is attached to an older stone building with arched windows. The building displays Italian and European Union flags. The sky is partly cloudy.

During the equinoxes, the shadow of this cathedral fills the square, mirroring the image of its facade.

Facade of a Renaissance-style cathedral with three grand wooden doors, intricate architectural details, and symmetrical design. The setting is a stone-paved square with a few people standing near the building under a partly cloudy sky.

This building was the home of Pius II and his family.

The image depicts the interior courtyard of a historic building, featuring an open atrium with arched columns and two levels of windows. The courtyard has a stone floor with weathered and cracked tiles. The upper level has decorated walls and windows.

An arched walkway with three columns supporting the structure. Above the arches is a stone wall with faded frescoes and an ornamental carving. Beyond the doorway at the center is a garden pathway lined with hedges leading to a distant view of a lake.

Forget the history, the view was the best part. Must have been good to be the Pope.

A picturesque landscape featuring a well-manicured formal garden with neatly trimmed bushes and hedges. Beyond the garden, there is an old stone wall partially overgrown with greenery. The backdrop showcases rolling hills, fields, and distant mountains.

Oh and you’ve gotta taste the pecorino cheese that is made here and is world famous.

A person in a blue shirt cuts a slice of cheese on a wooden board in a cheese shop. Various types of cheese, small jars of condiments, and bottles of balsamic vinegar are displayed on the wooden counter.

After the cheese, we walked just out of town past this old church…

A historic stone church with a cylindrical tower and arched entrance, surrounded by lush green grass and leafy trees under a partly cloudy sky.

To this view. If it looks familiar, it’s because it was used for a scene in the movie Gladiator.

A scenic landscape of rolling hills with golden fields and green patches. A winding dirt road lined with cypress trees runs through the fields, leading to a distant farmhouse. In the background, there is a range of blue and green mountains under a partly cloudy sky.

The next place we visited was Castiglione del Lago, which, as its name suggests, is next to Lago (Lake) Trasimeno.

A historical town square featuring a medieval clock tower with a bell, flanked by buildings with green shutters and balconies. In the foreground, there is a stone fountain, and to the right, a café with outdoor seating under a red awning.

We bought a ticket to walk the fortress battlements and it was totally worth it.

A section of an old brick and stone fortress wall with gaps, overlooking a body of water with mountains in the background. The sky is partly cloudy, and there are patches of vegetation on the wall.

A historic stone archway with a lamp post on top. The arch leads to a staircase with metal railings, ascending towards buildings in the background. Vegetation grows through the stonework at various points, and cobblestones line the pathway under.

Next stop, the town of Cortona, which was built on terraces cut into the hillside. It has these amazing, ancient walls.

A charming town square with historic buildings and rustic architecture. People stroll and sit at outdoor tables, enjoying the atmosphere. The square is paved with stone tiles, and the buildings feature arched doorways, balconies, and shops at ground level.

A cool celestial globe I spotted.

A historical celestial globe encased in a glass dome. The globe features detailed illustrations of constellations with mythological figures and celestial coordinates. The setup is placed on a wooden stand, and its surroundings indicate an indoor museum or exhibit space.

I really liked the streets of Cortona. It had taller buildings than we were used to seeing.

Narrow street in a historic European town, lined with stone buildings and colorful banners. A steep incline leads to an archway and a tower in the background. A few pedestrians and a parked car are visible.

A narrow, cobbled street lined with historic buildings and colorful flags hanging from windows, with a sign for “Hotel S. Michele” on the right side. A few pedestrians can be seen in the distance.

A peaceful courtyard featuring a central stone well surrounded by a grassy area with a tree and two tall palms. The courtyard is bordered by a two-story building with arched walkways and multiple windows. The sky above is partly cloudy.

Just outside of town is another monastery. This one is beautifully set into the stream’s valley.

A scenic view of an ancient building with clay-tiled roofs set against a backdrop of lush green hills and forests. The foreground features a beautifully maintained garden with pink and red flowers arranged in a geometric pattern, and a small stone fountain in the center.

And that was it for our time in Tuscany! Thanks for reading through the post. We absolutely loved our time there and would go back in a heartbeat.

But Puglia was calling. So we headed back to Florence to take the train to Bari via Rome.

A modern high-speed train on a railway track at a train station, with another train visible in the background. It is a sunny day with clear blue skies, and the station platform is partially shaded.

Ciao! I’ll have another report on Puglia. Sadly, this is our last stop before we head home!